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December 2, 2010
Tune in to Tunecore (A 6-part series)
Thanks to EFF Deep Links and Boingboing for pointing me at Jeff Price's 6-part series called "The State of The Music Industry & the Delegitimization of Artists"
. This is a great series of blog posts that ran in October and November looking at the state of the music industry - that is, the business of recording and selling recordings of music - and the state of the Cartel... erm, the big recording industry thingamawhatsis dinosaur what is in the process of dying out but is trampling all sorts of mammals to death in its thrashing throes.
In part 1, Price takes direct aim at the doom-and-gloom that is surrounding the Cartel, and notes that even if you use the extremely conservative Nielsen numbers, music purchases are up 50% in the period 2006-2009. These numbers are conservative because they don't account for a whole lot of ways that people get music these days, which is to say not as 'albums' packaged and promoted by the Cartel. That form? Doomed. Music itself? Alive and well. If this argument sounds familiar, it should: Marc Weidenbaum made this point back in May, though he did it artistically rather than by crunching the numbers.
I won't spoil the rest of Price's entry - you really should read the whole thing (there are links to the other parts at the bottom of part 1; for some reason the TOC at the top is not hot-linked). But I did want to call attention to another important part of his data:
"More musicians are making money off their music now then at any point in history [and] the amount of money going into the artist's pocket has increased."
Put that in your pipes and smoke it, you crack-headed "piracy will bankrupt artists" types. Over and over again the data have come out against you, but like the Birthers and the Global Warming Deniers you just keep at it. Not that I think any of you read this blog, but really, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
As a generous interpretation I can say that you have confused your own profits and antiquated business models with what you're supposed to be in business for, which is helping artists get known, be heard, make a living, and get paid for their art. I have freely confessed that I don't have any prescriptive solutions to the problems. At best I can point to experiments in patronage models, crowdsourcing, remixing, and free-sells-more that are going on right now. If Price is right, then maybe we're starting to accumulate some evidence that these models - a thousand flowers blooming - are starting to work.
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